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Inconsistent UN

On Thursday, India accused the United Nations Security Council’s al-Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee for a lack of accountability. India’s criticism is absolutely justified. Decisions made by the global body to designate individuals as terrorists based on requests made by member nations have been inconsistent. India’s permanent representative to the UN, Syed Akbaruddin, said on Thursday there was a “hidden veto” being used and the general members are never informed of the reason for not acceding to requests for sanctioning terrorists. “The procedures of unanimity and anonymity of the al-Qaeda, Taliban, and ISIS Sanctions Committees need to be revisited,” said Akbaruddin. These comments have come days after the committee put a technical hold on its application to designate Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist after China vetoed it. India believes Azhar was the mastermind behind the January 2 terrorist attack on its Pathankot airbase. However, China had blocked the bid to designate Azhar as a terrorist, saying the case “did not meet Security Council’s requirements”. Despite the JeM being listed by the UN Security Council Committee as far back as 2001 for its known terror activities and links to the al-Qaida, China has taken a rather regressive stand. By vetoing UN action against a leading Pakistani terrorist, China has shown the extent to which it is willing to go to undermine Indian security. But this is not the first time China has blocked India’s bid to get Pakistan-based militant groups and leaders proscribed by the UN. The global body had banned the JeM in 2001. But India’s efforts for a ban on Azhar after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack did not amount to much after China’s intervention. Last July, China had similarly halted India’s move in the UN to take action against Pakistan for its release of Mumbai terror attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, saying that its stand was “based on facts and in the spirit of objectiveness and fairness”.

Syed Akbaruddin’s recent comments only reflect Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s views on the subject. During his recent visit abroad, Modi did not spare the United Nations and argued that it hasn’t done enough to counter terrorism. While addressing the Indian diaspora in Brussels, he directly attacked the UN and said it was unfortunate that the global body was still unable to define terrorism and act on a resolution. To the uninitiated, a resolution against the designated terrorist would prescribe action against countries that support or shelter terrorism. He told the gathering that the UN has not performed its duty in this regard. If it does not address this problem, the world body will lose its relevance.

Some maintain that such strong criticism should have been avoided. However, our Prime Minister has every right to question the UN’s failure to deal with terrorism, in spite of having all means to do so.
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